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Fig. 1. Awarding of the Helmuth-Burckhardt Prize 2023 with (from left to right): Prof. Helmut Mischo, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Martin Wedig, VRB, Prof. Axel Preuße, RWTH Aachen University, Hannah Weinbach, Daniel Sensenschmidt and Thorsten Diercks, Lars Kulik and Manfred Hoffmann (VRB). Photo: VRB

Helmuth-Burckhardt Prize 2023

The Helmuth-Burckhardt Prize 2023 of the German Raw Materials and Mining Association (VRB), Berlin/Germany, went to two prizewinners this year, Hannah Weinbach M.Sc. and Dipl.-Ing. Daniel Sensenschmidt (Figure 1).

The German Mining Association awarded the prize to the young academics at its general meeting on 14th September 2023 in Berlin. The Burckhardt Prize has been awarded annually since 1971 for outstanding exam results in the Master’s degree in raw materials engineering or the major state examination. The award is intended to enable the prizewinner to gain further insights into mining abroad as part of a study trip.

Hannah Weinbach completed her Master’s degree at RWTH Aachen University with a “very good” grade. She gained experience abroad at university level as part of the European Mining Course with semesters abroad in Finland and the Netherlands. As part of her Master’s thesis, she successfully analysed the possible applications of geophysical measurement methods for exploring and securing legacies from old near-surface mining using the example of the former Robertshall lignite mine.

Daniel Sensenschmidt is a graduate of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg. He completed his Master’s degree with “very good”. He has already gained experience abroad in the USA and Namibia. He also wrote his thesis in Namibia on “Development and economic evaluation of an underground mining concept for the Ondoto light rare earth deposit”.

Both candidates have familiarised themselves with many branches of raw materials in Germany and abroad, with Sensenschmidt having focused his studies more on ore mining and industrial minerals, while Weinbach has gained practical experience with energy raw materials and is intensively involved in post-mining issues. Both candidates have language skills and have also been involved in voluntary work during their studies.

Weinbach is now employed as a project engineer for authorisation procedures, mine planning and abandoned mines at SST Ingenieurgesellschaft GmbH in Aachen, while Sensenschmidt is employed as a mining engineer at Gebr. Knauf KG in Iphofen.

For the VRB selection committee, the decisive factor in choosing them as this year’s prize winners was that they

  • can demonstrate a wide range of study specialisations, work experience and voluntary work at the same time;
  • have completed their studies within the standard period of study with outstanding, very good degrees; and
  • have also been able to gain a wide range of experience abroad in academia and practice.